The Science Behind Pulsely

Tapping into research that demonstrates how inclusion enables an organisation to leverage the power of diversity and unleash the full breadth of its talent.

Research demonstrates that inclusion enables companies to leverage the power of diversity and unleash the full breadth of their talent.

Many companies address diversity by investing their resources in hiring - at the entry-level as well as experienced hires. It can be frustrating when hiring is increasingly more diverse but the diversity in your pipeline to leadership is not improving. If this is your challenge, inclusion is most likely the culprit.

An inclusive workplace is one where organisational values, policies, processes, and behaviours reinforce a consistent culture that provides all employees with the opportunity to use their voice and develop in their career -  irrespective of background. While that is the intention in most workplaces, it is often not the reality for all employees. The lived experience of employees can vary drastically - certainly depending on managers and on teams, but also due to an individual employee's demographics.  

For that reason, it is important to assess the level of inclusion in your company across demographic groups. You want to identify and build on your strengths as well as identify and address barriers to progress. Unfortunately, measuring inclusion is complex. There is no definitive set of metrics to assess an organisation's inclusiveness.

The challenge is that to close a gap, you need to know how big it is and what is causing it. Many companies don’t have clear data on the diversity of their talent pipeline or their workforce over time. As a result, they aren’t able to accurately identify problems or launch targeted interventions to solve them. Measuring What Matters BCG 2018

Pulsely’s developers have experience in assessing workplaces, developing strategies to create more inclusive and equitable outcomes, and a deep understanding of the most current research. We then layer on our expertise in collective intelligence to identify gaps and solutions. 

Our framework assesses the key metrics that drive inclusion and result in positive business outcomes. We focus on the aspects which are actionable and where there are best practices demonstrated to close the gaps.

An inclusive workplace requires change at both the organisational and individual level to improve business effectiveness. We examine both an employee’s perceptions of others’ behaviours that impact their experience of inclusion (Workplace Inclusion) and also provide an opportunity for each employee to reflect on their OWN skills and opportunities for growth (Inclusion Competencies). Measuring the impact of inclusion on the business (Performance Indicators) drives commitment to D&I strategy.

Workplace Inclusion

Individual employees share their perceptions and experiences on a variety of inclusion statements through our survey. We analyse this input at a macro level through sophisticated algorithms to assess the patterns and dynamics of inclusion. This analysis shines a light on organisational challenges that may be difficult to see when looking at individual situations.

The data will reveal insights on how different groups may be experiencing the same workplace in very different ways. With an intersectional approach to viewing these metrics, the solutions you introduce will be targeted and measurable.

Understanding who feels included at work at a demographic level can surface barriers to inclusion. For example, if women and BAME employees are more likely to perceive that promotion practices are unfair, a review of promotion processes could be carried out. Inclusion data could also be used to benchmark and evaluate the success of inclusion change programmes or D&I strategy over time. CIPD Building Inclusive Workplaces

This survey assesses three unique aspects of workplace inclusion that allow you to identify barriers to inclusion that you can address with actionable and measurable solutions:

  • Inclusion Climate: Organisational climate signals whether a company is truly committed to valuing differences through leadership actions, workplace policies, and behaviours that are allowed or encouraged. When a diverse group of people feels included, they have a shared purpose and intent. With visible commitment from the top, the culture can make a positive shift.
  • Career Experiences: Talent Management is not just about policy. Policies are put into practice by individuals and through organisational processes. It is critical to assess the experiences of employees and examine the patterns of career supports and guidance to ensure that opportunities and resources at work aren’t influenced by group identity or demographic differences.  For example, McKinsey research shows that women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance careers and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions. Having internal data that highlight inequities will create the motivation to ensure fairness and establish a case for more intentional support. 
  • Psychological Safety: Psychological safety cultivates appropriate risk-taking, in individual interactions that promote speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off. In diverse teams that are inclusive, employees experience a safe environment where ideas can be shared and innovation can thrive.

Inclusion Competencies

Inclusion and exclusion are experienced in various interactions throughout the day. Despite attention to policy, values, and culture in an organisation, a company’s ability to leverage a diverse workforce comes down to the skills of individual managers and employees. Pulsely offers a tool for evaluating the inclusion skills of individual employees with both individual and organisational benefits to help your employees adjust to expectations for more inclusive leadership styles. Assessing the competencies of individual employees provides guidance for your learning and training programming.

Because organisational members might not recognise the impact they have on others, there is a need to build their toolkit of inter-cultural competence in order to insure an inclusive environment. Skills Deficiencies in Diversity and Inclusion

Developing, motivating and rewarding inclusive behaviour can lead to strong positive results. While the primary goal of this metric is to assess inclusive leadership skills across  your organisation, there is secondary benefit to the individuals answering our survey questions. Both individuals and the organisation will be able to ACT on the results of this assessment piece. 

Organisational Benefit

While the company will not know any individual’s score or profile, you will be able to assess the prevalence of profiles among different groups or levels. If you are investing in inclusive leadership training, you will then be able to focus your training dollars where they have greatest impact and assess your progress in promoting greater advocacy and allyship behaviours. These practices at senior levels can strongly influence the norms and practices of managers, allowing everyone to more effectively understand how to create a supportive, inclusive environment.

Individual Benefit

Ultimately, success at being inclusive means taking responsibility for your own behaviour and reflecting on how your frame of reference may vary from someone else’s. Change among individuals is less effective when mandated. Authentic change comes through self-reflection, something not many of us welcome. This tool offers an opportunity for self-assessment. Individual employees will reflect on their own beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and confidentially score themselves along a spectrum. Their overall score will identify their inclusion profiles. The goal is to acknowledge where you are in these evolving expectations and to provide resources for those who are interested in developing their competencies further.  

Performance Indicators

Inclusion is not simply an HR initiative. Research demonstrates the clear link between inclusion and business outcomes important to CEOs and their leadership teams. While it is valuable that external research shows the link between inclusion and business outcomes, external research does not incentivise action as well as internal data. An analysis of how inclusion correlates with engagement, team effectiveness, and retention in your organisation will provide you with the data to demonstrate the value of D&I to your leadership team and the broader organisation. You can then create your own internal business case for inclusion and address the real issues your employees are facing. You will garner support, championship, and resources to advance inclusion across your employee population. 

Bringing it all Together

We combine the power of these three data sets with pattern-recognition algorithms to assess how equitably your employees experience the workplace and how that translates into business impact. When this data is integrated with Diversity data you can determine how inclusion impacts the equitable movement of people through your talent pipeline. Your solutions will be targeted at specific groups of people at specific levels in the organisation. And the interventions will address the drivers of inclusion rather than symptoms. You will then be able to see more proportional representation of demographic groups moving through your talent pipeline and see the impact of this diversity on your business performance.

Get real-time access to your data with the Pulsely DEI Dashboard

Visualize your organization's strengths and challenges in the dashboard and monitor your progress as new and updated answers come in.

Diversity & Inclusion Scientific Framework

More from the blog

Assess behaviors to drive a culture of inclusion

Talk with our team to find the best solution for your current challenges
Book a meeting
Become our Partner in Diversity & Inclusion